Understanding the Nutrition Facts Label: Part 2
The nutrients section makes up the largest part of the Nutrition Facts Label. Expressed in grams (g), milligrams (mg), and micrograms (mcg) these nutrients fall into two key categories – macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are simply defined as nutrients that your body requires in large quantities in order to properly function. These macronutrients in turn provide calories (energy).
The following are common types of macronutrients found on the nutrition facts label.
Carbohydrates are the preferred source of fuel for your brain and muscles. Foods such as pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, corn, fruit, table sugar, and dairy sugar are high in carbohydrates.
Put plainly, carbs equal energy. But, of course, excess carbs equal excess energy which is stored in the body as fat.
Containing 4 calories per gram, carbohydrates should account for 45-65% of your daily calories.
Protein is used by your body to grow, build, and repair tissue. Commonly found in meat, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, beans, nuts, seeds, and soy products, protein contains 4 calories per gram and should provide 10-30% of your daily calories.
Fat, which allows the body to store energy in the form of fat cells, contains 9 calories per gram. Found in butter, lard, tallow, and vegetable oils, fats should provide 25-35% of your daily calories.
Micronutrients re defined as nutrients your body needs in small quantities. These include all vitamins and minerals.
Common vitamins and minerals you may find on the nutrition facts panel include Calcium, Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin D, and Potassium among others.
While micronutrients do not provide calories, they are required for the body to convert food into energy and are necessary for every bodily process.
Stay tuned for the finale of our 3 part series where we break down each nutrient within a Nutrition Facts Label – total fat, carbohydrates, protein & more!